This page will be updated occasionally to reflect recent achievements and special acquisitions.
In February 2013, Drs. Hart M. and Anne K. Nelsen donated two extraordinary books to Rod Library Special Collections.
- A first edition of Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Charles L. Webster and Company, Chicago, 1885. The book includes 174 illustrations.
- A first Viking edition of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, Viking Press, 1958. In dust jacket.
Dr. Hart Nelsen is an alumnus of the University of Northern Iowa, Classes of 1959 and 1963.
In July 2013, Marlys Kay Messingham donated her class notes from her undergraduate years at the University of Northern Iowa, 1964-1968, and her graduate study, fall 1978. Ms. Messingham majored in history in preparation for a social studies teaching degree. The notes are meticulous and extensive; they are frequently accompanied by course outlines, class handouts, and examinations. They offer an excellent way to study the ways in which courses were taught by master teachers such as John Eiklor, Leland Sage, Thomas Ryan, Basheer Nijim, and Erma Plaehn.
In August 2013, Special Collections acquired a large collection of material relating to American railroads. This material, the Robert W. Cox Railroad Collection, includes books, videos, correspondence, and memorabilia. It offers a broad look at railroads in the United States, with a special depth in material relating to railroads in the American Northeast. Special Collections staff completed the processing of this collection in September 2013. Individual books and videos are now being catalogued and added to UNISTAR, the Rod Library's on-line catalogue.
In August 2013, Special Collections acquired a collection of material relating to May E. Francis. Miss Francis, who was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 2003, was an alumna of the University of Northern Iowa and a State Superintendent of Public Instruction. She was the first woman elected to a statewide office in Iowa. Most of this collection relates to a history of Texas that she was writing.
In November and December 2013, the Special Collections staff scanned and interpreted Glimpses of Iowa's State Normal School and Its Home . . Cedar Falls. This is a photo album published by William L. Veatch, a prolific photographer of the Normal School (now the University of Northern Iowa) and Cedar Falls, Iowa. The original print copy is in the University of Northern Iowa Archives.
In June 2014, the Special Collections staff put together an illustrated Web essay on distinguished alumna Lenore Shanewise. Miss Shanewise taught at the Iowa State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Iowa) and then went on to become an influential teacher of theater and the dramatic arts in Hollywood.
In the spring semester of 2014, Dean of Library Service Chris Cox generously made special funds available to strengthen the historical collection of books in Special Collections that are related to the settlement of Iowa. Included among those books are:
- John S. Collins. Across the plains in '64. Omaha, Nebraska. 1904. (F 594 C71 1904)
- S. W. McMaster. 60 years on the upper Mississippi. Rock Island, Illinois, 1893. (F 597 M16 1893)
- William Smedley. Across the plains in '62. Denver, Colorado, 1916. (F 594 S66 1916)
- Medoren Crawford. Journal. Eugene, Oregon, 1897. (F 871 S72 1897)
- Marx D. Hauberg. Memoirs. Hillsdale, Illinois, 1923?. (CT 275 H445A3 1923)
- Benjamin Brown. Testimonies for the truth. Liverpool, 1853.
- W. Thornton Parker. Personal experiences among our North American Indians from 1867 to 1885. Northampton, Massachusetts, 1913. (E 78 W5P25 1913)
- Alfred James Mokler. Transition of the West. Chicago, 1927. (F 591 M72 1927)
- Emory Fiske Skinner. Reminiscences. Chicago, 1908. (CT 275 S5222A3 1908)
All of these books are available for use in Special Collections.
In July 2014, the Special Collections staff completed a Web essay on the Kaltenbach family of Waterloo, Iowa. The essay focused on the four children who attended the Iowa State Teachers College (now UNI) during the 1920s, and especially on Fred Kaltenbach, who served as a German propagandist during World War II.
In September 2014, the Special Collections staff scanned a series of aerial photos of the initial stages of the reconstruction of the UNI-Dome roof in 1998.
In October 2014, Special Collections received a large collection of World War II correspondence between Cecil and Esther Wagoner. This collection of almost one thousand letters, arranged by Library Associate David Hoing, provides a fine look at both military and civilian life during the war. This collection is now available for research.
In early February 2015, the Special Collections staff added more images to the Sybil Lincoln Photo and Postcard Collection. This collection provides a nice look at the Iowa State Teachers College and the city of Cedar Falls in about 1910.
Also in early February 2015, the Special Collections staff completed work on a photo essay on the 1994 Campanile restoration project.
Several years ago, the University Archives received the papers of Professor Janet McClain, who taught at the Malcolm Price Laboratory School and then in the College of Education, where she headed the Minorities in Teaching program. This collection provides an in-depth look at the efforts of the University of Northern Iowa to recruit minorities into the teaching profession. Assistant Archivist Dustin Witsman arranged this collection, which is now ready for research use.
The Special Collections staff completed update work on its Faculty Roster. This resource attempts to list and provide years of service for all faculty of the University of Northern Iowa back to 1876. The database also includes institutional officers, directors of administrative offices, and athletics coaches.
Library Associate David Hoing completed the processing and arrangement of the John Paul Thomas Collection. Mr. Thomas was a renowned artist, who is best known for his paintings of Hawaiian subjects. This collection will be best used in conjunction with the Harvey Hess Collection and the Jerré Tanner Collection. Thomas, Hess, and Tanner collaborated in artistic presentations for many years.
The Special Collections staff recently completed work on a journal kept by UNI alumnus Richard Cobb Sucher on a trip that he made to England with his band, the Campus Playboys, in 1934. The work includes a transcription of that journal as well as an illustrated essay on Richard Sucher and his remarkable trip.
Several years ago Special Collections received a small collection of books related to the Muggletonians, a most unusual 17th century English religious sect. Library Associate David Hoing recently processed this collection and described its contents.
In late March William Teaford donated a painting by Professor David Delafield, a member of the Art faculty, to Special Collections. The painting, which depicts a kingfisher, was produced in about 1970 for an art show and sale to benefit the Democratic Party of Waterloo, Iowa.
Lynn Ethan Nielsen was a long-time member of the faculty of the Malcolm Price Laboratory School and the University of Northern Iowa College of Education. After his death in April 2015, the University Archives added his office files to its collections. These files present an excellent view of trends in the teaching of elementary school social studies in the 1980s and 1990s. The files also present a good look at the Laboratory School social studies curriculum during that era. Professor Nielsen was a distinguished teacher and scholar with special interests in Iowa history, character education, and the vocational choices of male elementary school teachers. The Special Collections staff has completed an inventory of that collection, which is now available for research use.
Special Collections and University Archives acquired a piece of original cover art from Moe Wadle, who assembled both the Wadle Pocket Book and Signet Book Collections that are housed in the Special Collections reading room. The painting was done by George Mayers for the book Benjamin Blake, Son of Fury, by Edison Marshall. Mr. Wadle also furnished a copy of the book to accompany the painting. The painting will be hung near the Wadle collections.
Through the efforts of the UNI Foundation, Special Collections and University Archives received a late typescript of "The Bridges of Madison County", by former UNI faculty member Robert James Waller. The typescript includes handwritten emendations by Professor Waller.
Library Associate David Hoing recently completed the processing of a collection of papers from Mary O'Halloran, a member of the General Assembly of Iowa in the late 1970s. Ms. O'Halloran was a strong supporter of the "bottle bill" and environmental issues while in the General Assembly. She later served in the Jimmy Carter administration.
Professor John Baskerville served on the history faculty of the University of Northern Iowa from 1993 until his death in 2015. His scholarship and teaching centered on African-American music. After his death, his professional papers came to the University of Northern Iowa Archives. Library Associate David Hoing prepared those papers for research use.
In 2014, the Office of the Provost and the Office of Academic Affairs delivered a very large shipment of records to the University of Northern Iowa Archives. The shipment included records relating to faculty productivity, strategic planning, the Peat Marwick efficiency studies, academic program review, academic program accreditation, and university Cabinet action. The collection is now processed and available for research use. It should serve as an invaluable source of information about academic matters at the highest levels of University of Northern Iowa administration from about 1980 through about 2000.
Members of the Chassell family made distinguished records at the Iowa State Normal School in the late 1880s. They went on to exceptional and note worthy careers. In the summer of 2015, a descendant of the family donated two large boxes of correspondence, photographs, documents, and publications relating to the family. Library Associate David Hoing processed the collection and developed an informative inventory. This collection offers a very interesting look at a family of UNI alumni that has been deeply involved in education and public service for over one hundred years.
In early December, the Special Collections staff completed an update of the Faculty Roster for fall 2015. The Faculty Roster includes full names, professorial rank, departments, and assigned responsibilities for all UNI faculty and lead administrators back to 1876.
In early December, Student Assistant Raelyn Meleng completed the processing of a large collection of annual reports submitted by department heads to the Dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. This collection gives a fine picture of activities and plans in those departments from 1981-1982 through 2011-2012.
While cleaning a closet, ITS staff members recently found a number of photographs of UNI alumnus Eugene Francis Grossman with Hollywood celebrities such as Shirley Temple, Betty Grable, and Robert Wagner. Mr. Grossman was a pioneer in the use of radio on the UNI campus. He went on to become a motion picture sound man in Hollywood. These photographs have been added to the Eugene Francis Grossman manuscript collection in Special Collections.
Alumnus Terry Knapp recently donated an interesting and humorous collection to the University Archives. In 1965, he and some friends poked gentle fun at campus Greeks by organizing a group called Eta Pizza Pi. With the help of Professors James Skaine and Herbert Hake, they put together the mock trappings, ceremonies, and rituals of a social fraternity. Eta Pizza Pi survived for only a year or so, but the group attracted considerable attention. This small collection of material is a nice illustration of students having a good time on campus.
After years of work, the Special Collections staff completed a survey of UNI Commencement practices and traditions back to 1877. The home page for this survey provides the opportunity to look at celebrations in ten-year segments. There are occasional images in this work. There are many more images available for study in the University Archives photograph collection.
Special Collections and University Archives recently received a scrapbook of photographs of Lawrence "Mon" Whitford, long time member of the coaching staff and physical education faculty. These photographs, from 1919 and 1920, offer a nice look at athletes, athletic equipment, and playing fields from that era. That collection is available for research use. We have presented a selection of those photographs, with a few remarks, in a short Web page.
After a great deal of research in many sources, the Special Collection staff completed a series of pages on Commencement practices at UNI reaching back to 1877. Those pages list sites, speakers, special events, and numbers of graduates for each Commencement.
Page opened May 9, 2013; last updated, February 26, 2016 (GP).